Breakthrough: Korean Researchers Invent Method for Mass Production of Key Fuel Cell Parts

By January 28, 2022 3   min read  (455 words)

January 28, 2022 |

Fuel Cells Works, Breakthrough: Korean Researchers Invent Method for Mass Production of Key Fuel Cell Parts
  • Development of solid oxide fuel cell stack technology applied with press-formed metal separator
  • Successfully developed 2kWstackby applying the metal separator module technology manufactured by press molding for the first time in Korea
  • The road to mass production is opened to secure price competitiveness and reliability of fuel cell stack
KIERI’s research group in the area of high-temperature energy conversion, under the direction of Dr. Ji-haeng Yu, has developed technology that allows core components in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) to be manufactured at one-tenth the cost and in one-hundredth the time to manufacture.

Korean Researchers Invent Method for Mass Production of Key Fuel Cell Parts 3

A team led by Dr. Yoo Ji-haeng of the High Temperature Energy Conversion Lab at the Korea Institute of Energy Research has built a 22kW solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack by stacking metal separators and single cell modules layer by layer. Provided by Energy Technology Research Institute

This technology was used by the team of Dr. Yoo Ji-haeng to build a 2kW fuel cell stack and operate it for 200 hours, showing possible commercial use.

For the first time in Korea, a research team developed a method of producing convex and convex metal separators using a press mold. Basically, a fuel cell is made up of an anode, an electrolyte, and a cathode. In order to make a large-capacity fuel cell, individual fuel cells are stacked layer by layer using metal separators and sealing materials.Korean Researchers Invent Method for Mass Production of Key Fuel Cell Parts 2

This metal separator facilitates electrical contact between dozens of unit cells, and functions as a manifold for supplying fuel and oxygen to each unit cell. Since the metal separator must be built with microchannels to control the flow of fuel and air, it occupies the highest price share along with the unit cell.

Utilizing the metal separator for fuel cell developed by POSCO and the brazing bonding technology of Dongil Brazing, the researchers developed a metal separator. POSCO’s high-temperature fuel cell metal material costs less than one-fifth of the cost of the existing separator material made in Germany.

High-temperature fuel cells available in Korea are usually imported from overseas, but the parts and materials used are domestic. It is noteworthy that they were developed using a separator to which Korean mass-production technology was applied for the first time.

By brazing several metal layers, it was also possible to check component defects in advance during the modularization stage. By doing so, the team explained that it is possible to prevent problems caused by fuel cell stack malfunctions before they occur.

Dr. Yoo Ji-haeng, who is in charge of research, said,“The developed technology is a core component of a high-temperature fuel cell using city gas. We will make efforts to advance commercialization.”

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